Flint Center parking garage seismic renovation $11 million over original estimate

Elizabeth Cardenas, Freelancer

The cost to renovate the Flint Center parking structure and fix seismic concerns is estimated at $17 million, $11 million over budget. The work has not been scheduled yet.  Reasons for the increased cost and possible alternatives were presented during the Foothill-De Anza Board of Trustees meeting Feb. 3.

Charles Allen, executive director of district facilities, operations and construction management, said the increased cost is based on additional work items such as structural upgrades/repairs, an elevator upgrade, sealing and waterproofing, and lighting upgrades that were discovered after the initial estimate in 2006.

Despite the higher cost, renovation of the structure is inevitable.

“Leaving the Flint Center ‘as is’ isn’t an option because it poses long term-maintenance and seismic-safety issues,” Allen said.

“The district is committed to finding a solution, but would prefer not to spend $17 million on a retrofit,” FHDA Chancellor Linda Thor said.

An alternative to renovation proposed at the meeting was to tear down the structure, which would cost $2 million to $3 million, and replace it with a concrete lot that would provide 400- 500 parking spaces, a drop from the 1,400 parking spaces that the existing structure provides. Building a new parking sructure would cost about $30 million.

A possible cost-effective alternative would be to redevelop the site in a public-private partnership that would combine parking with mixed-use development.

When a final decision is made about the parking structure, the district will notify De Anza so necessary changes can be made, such as notifying students of parking alternatives.